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Santa Monica College Students Face Off Against Japanese National Debate Team

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By Hector Gonzalez
Special to The Lookout

February 29, 2016 -- Santa Monica College's debate team takes on the Japanese National Debate team in a free-wheeling discussion on gun control next month.

The event promises tag-team style action as two SMC debate team members take on two members of the Japanese National Debate Team over the question, “Should the U.S. Implement Significant New Gun Control?”

“It's a great honor to host the Japanese debate team here at Santa Monica College,” said Nate Brown, professor of communications. “This is our second debate against an international team, and we're excited about the new challenge.”

The great debate will take place Thursday, March 10, in Art Building 214 on the SMC main campus, 1900 Pico Boulevard, at 11:15 a.m. Admission is free and open to the public.

In September, the SMC debate team squared off against members of the English-Speaking Union’s 2015 British National Debate Team in the college's first international debate tournament (British National Debate Team Invades Santa Monica College, September 21, 2015).

As in the September tournament, the format of next month's debate against the Japanese team will be the parliamentary-style debate, which pits opponents two against two. Each speaker has a specific amount of time to speak, but can be interrupted by the opposing team.

Audience members will be able to chime in their preferences throughout the debate using their smart phones or electronic devices. The audience will also be able to vote for a winning team at the end of the event.

Representing Japan will be national debate team members Masaya Sasaki and Naruhiko Nakano.

Sasaki is a second-year debater on the University of Tokyo Debating Society’s parliamentary-style debate team. Although he had no debating experience before entering the university, he has won many prizes in national and international debate tournaments. Most recently, he was a semifinalist in both the 2015 ESUJ National Tournament and the 2015 Asian Debate Institute Tournament.

Nakano is a third-year debater on the policy debate team at Mie University E.S.S. During his junior year, he and his team won first prize as the strongest team at the regional NDAJ X FIDL Tournament in western Japan.

The SMC team will be represented by Stephanie Mendez and Alfredo Gama.

Although Mendez has only been in competitive debate for one semester, she took first place at the fall championship tournament in December 2015. She majors in political science at SMC, and plans to transfer to UCLA in political science and pre-law.

Gama was on his high school's debate team, where he was a finalist in the 2013 Brushke Invitational, and the policy debate captain his senior year. He also was undefeated at the first 2013 Western Bay Forensics League tournament in policy debate.

He studies public policy and business administration at SMC, and plans to transfer to UC Berkeley in legal studies and policy economy.

For more information about this event, call 310-434-8741.

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